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Signing dream come true for Shady Side Academy's Briggs

Bill Shirley | For The Valley News Dispatch - Shady Side Academy #3 Dennis Briggs runs for tough yardage against the Freeport defense near the goal line during action Friday September 28, at James Swartz Memorial Field in Freeport.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em> Bill Shirley  |  For The Valley News Dispatch</em></div>Shady Side Academy #3 Dennis Briggs runs for tough yardage against the Freeport defense near the goal line during action Friday September 28, at James Swartz Memorial Field in Freeport.
Erica Hilliard | Valley News Dispatch - Knoch's Kyler Kenyon (12) goes airborne after a sack from Fox Chapel's Quintin Wirginis (33) during a game at Knoch High School on Friday Sept. 23, 2011.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Erica Hilliard | Valley News Dispatch</em></div>Knoch's Kyler Kenyon (12) goes airborne after a sack from Fox Chapel's  Quintin Wirginis (33) during a game at Knoch High School on Friday Sept. 23, 2011.

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Wednesday, June 26, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
 

Shady Side Academy's senior running back Dennis Briggs recently gave a verbal commitment to play football at Pitt in the fall of 2014.

The 5-foot-11, 195-pound Briggs gained 473 yards on 82 carries for the Indians last season, an average of 5.75 yards per carry.

“It's always been a dream of mine to play D-I football,” he said. “Plus, Pitt is right around the corner and a lot of my friends will be going to Pitt.”

Briggs is unsure of a major but is looking at pre-med.

“I like working with kids so I may end up doing something in pediatrics,” he said. “I'm just glad to be going to Pitt. The coaches at Pitt had a lot to do with my decision.

“They've told me that I'll be playing running back so I'll do my best to get ready. I know I'll have a lot of work to do. I definitely want to improve my speed.

“There are so many talented athletes at the D-I level. I'm confident, though.”

His coach at Shady Side Academy, Dave Havern, also has confidence in Briggs.

“As the word got out on him, Briggsy was receiving more and more interest from not only good football schools, but top tier academic institutions who have excellent football programs,” Havern said.

“He's a special kid with an outstanding work ethic, boat loads of character and leadership ability, plus he's an exceptionally versatile football player.

“His degree of focus is very rare in a high school ballplayer, whether he's in the classroom or on the field.

“He doesn't have the pop-out offensive stats, but that's probably because he's done the majority of lead blocking for our other backs, which is also a great example of how unselfish a kid Dennis is.

“If Dennis is the type of guy Pitt is recruiting and getting, it speaks well, not only for coach (Paul) Cryst's program but for Pitt as a whole.”

Marty Stewart is a sports editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-782-2123 or mstewart@tribweb.com.

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